Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action

John Spence gets it: Simplicity is the new gold standard. Businesses that get simple shed expenses and boost customer loyalty. The new talent to have is simplicity-skills. Spence provides simple, yet surprising, recommendations on how to take the complex out of business life."

Tim Sanders - Author of Love Is the Killer App

Ch1 Vivid Vision

Whether you lead three people on a sales team or ten thousand people across the globe, one of the fundamental aspects of creating a successful enterprise is giving people the comfort, safety, and confidence of an ennobling and positive vision of its future.

Chapter One begins with the crux of any organization, though it’s something that many still do not do effectively: communicating a clear, vivid, compelling, and inspiring vision for the future of the business. The focus of this chapter is not so much about creating a vision (although that is addressed in detail) but about the need for consistent and relentless communication of the vision to every stakeholder in the organization. A lot of leaders have a clear vision for where they are trying to take the organization, yet very few do an adequate job of sharing that vision effectively across their organization.

Additional Resources

Recommended Reading

Say It and Live It

A collection of the 50 best corporate mission statements in America, and an explanation of how each was written, Say It and Live It includes the mission statements of Kellogg's, IBM, Ben & Jerry's, Citicorp, Hallmark Cards, Boeing, Reader's Digest, Southwest Airlines, UPS, Xerox, and others.
Read my full review

The Leadership Challenge

One of the best books ever written on the fundamental characteristics of great leaders. The first of which is honesty, with the idea of being "forward-looking" -- in other words visionary -- as a close second. This book is well-written, thoroughly researched and highly valuable to anyone that wants to understand the importance of vision and values, and become a more successful leader.
Read my full review

The Northbound Train

Although written in 1998, the Northbound Train remains an excellent resource for understanding how to create a vivid compelling vision and communicate it across your organization. Interestingly, the examples he uses such as IBM, General Motors, GE and Kodak are still relevant today and especially enlightening given what has transpired in the decade since this book was first written.
Read my full review

True North

I had the great fortune of meeting Bill George several years ago at the Aspen Institute Ideas Fest and found him to be one of the most genuine, balanced and values driven leaders I've ever met. Both this book and his other book: Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value are superb for a leader wants to understand how to align themselves and their organization with meaningful core values.
Read my full review

What Really Works

This is probably the best book I have ever read on what a company needs to focus on in order to achieve success. Heavily researched, it shows four primary and four secondary management practices that seem to drive organizational excellence. It is a bit of a tough read, but well worth the effort.
Read my full review


Related posts from John's blog

Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Leadership

I ran across this article this morning on the Harvard Business Publishing website and thought that it really hit the nail on the head.
read this post...

Five Key Areas of Focus in Business

In the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to present several workshops on “business best practices” to more than 30 CEOs and dozens of senior executives at companies across the country.
read this post...

The Three Keys to Success in a Tough Economy

When times are tough, the number one thing that will help you survive is your staff. How do you keep these important people on your side? To me, there are three keys: Honesty, Vision, and Culture.
read this post...

Lessons from the Boat Show

As you read what I have to say about the boating industry in this blog, just keep asking yourself: “How might this apply to my business and my industry?” I have a feeling you’ll likely see many strong similarities.
read this post...

Great Leadership Advice for Challenging Times

I came across an absolutely outstanding article by Dan McCarthy on his website “Great Leadership” that I think is one of the best I’ve read in a long time on how to lead in challenging times.
read this post...

Six Keys to Business Survival in 2009


read this post...

Getting 2009 Started Off Strong!

I believe that two of the the most important factors in running a successful company are: robust communications and a sharp focus on the key organizational strategies.
read this post...

What I Learned at the Global Institute for Leadership Development

I have just returned from spending a week in Palm Springs, where I attended the Global Institute for Leadership Development as a student. It was an amazing event, with some of the leading business thinkers in the world delivering thoughtful and timely presentations.
read this post...

Six Key Strategies for Success in a Challenging Economy

To make sure you are one of the strong that survive, here are my top recommendations for what you need to focus on to successfully navigate these difficult economic times.
read this post...

Some Thoughts on Opening a New Business

A very close friend of mine is considering opening up a restaurant, so I wanted to give him a few quick ideas to help him get his new venture off to a super start, but really I think these ideas apply to just about any business…
read this post...